Monday, April 23, 2007

A spring bonnet

There are two types of people in the modern world: hat lovers and hat haters. I am in the former group. It’s a good job really, as I wear a riding hat most days. I have two: the sumptuous navy velvet one that comes out for ‘posh’ and the everyday jockey skull that I wear with a purple velvet cover. I am deeply desirous of a vented hat for the summer; you don’t want to know about how sweaty my hat was after an exuberant grey mare and I had a show jumping practice session yesterday …

In addition to the ‘necessary hats’ – the riding hats and the hats with flaps to stop a perishing north wind from whistling into my brain in dark winter fields (beware the Judder Man when the moon is fat) – I have plenty of frivolous hats. I have tweedy and corduroy caps with peaks; velvet hats; berets; fake fur hats and a superb cream creation that only comes out for racing in the summer. I have a green velvet hat box full of millinery. I prefer to tuck my hair into a hat when it rains than to use an umbrella.

I don’t know why or when people stopped wearing hats as a matter of course. Once it was new hats that we craved but women have, I think, replaced their worship of millinery with a fetish for shoes. You seldom see a man wearing a hat now either, unless it is a baseball cap, a woolly job to protect a shaved head in winter or a farmer with his flat cap. I once had a boyfriend who had a fedora and shiny shoes; I thought it was a classy combination.

But other than the races, people only seem to wear ‘unnecessary’ hats when they celebrate the Church of England's rites of passage: weddings, christenings and funerals.

21 comments:

Gill said...

The Judder man!!- Karen and I were only talking about him last week! Nice advert- shame about the horrid drink. That's what they need for promoting absinthe isn't it? A mysterious green puppet or something.

As for hats I need one when in the Morgan to stop my hair ending up looking either like Andy Warhol or Einstein- depending on wind speed and angle. I live near the Kangol factory so can get as many hats as I like- in any size shape or colour or material I could wish for, but sadly I don't have the face for most of them :-(

mountainear said...

Hmm, headgear. I've been looking at haloes today as my husband has an icon painting project underway.

Now, I'd love to wear one of those - but haven't a clue as to how I'd keep it on (hairgrips, blutack, will power?) - or even if I'd qualify for one in the first place.

Gill said...

watch the judderman on you tube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TUOPeNJCK8

Anonymous said...

I've taken to wearing a Tilley, which is not at all trendy, but better than a baseball cap at keeping the sun at bay. Perhaps I should try and start a fashion for the panama - but it isn't likely to catch on with anyone under the age of 40.

Women in hats can look fetching - especially if it is a Philip Treacy confection. Those 70s style caps with a brim are rather funky, but nowhere near as sexy as a foxy red beret.. Mmmm, yummy..

My dad used to wear hats quite a bit when I was a kid, generally when going to church or the like. But I have to ask you to please put me out of my misery if I ever wear a 'farmer-style' flat cap...

Sarnia said...

I love hats but being only 5' 4" can't get away with large ones or ones with big brims. I look like an undulating mushroom and the brim at the back hits my shoulders.

Now - if I were 4" taller ...

mutterings and meanderings said...

Gill, that was fab watching the Judder man again!

I think you should get a cloche hat for riding in the Morgan... and I am a firm believe that there is a style of hat to suit everyone...

A bit of fuse wire, Mountainear?

Anon, I only have a black beret and a purple velvet 1970s Kangol beret...

Sarnia - you beat me. I'm 5'3 and a bit. The 'bit' is very important!

Gill said...

The Kangol factory shop has ACRES of hats and I usually go there for an hour or so if I need to be cheered up, as most of the hats make me look comical. Cloche hats are lovely, but wouldn't stay on whilst driving over mountain passes etc.

rilly super said...

M&M, your black beret sounds very rive gauche. This only proves, as if your choice of headwear was required to provide any more evidence on top of your reflections here, that you are definitely what I think they call 'thinking man's crumpet'. The only hat I ever get to wear nowadays is a hard plastic one lent by the builders to pose for home renovation magazine photoshoots, but at least with 'Northern builders ltd' written on the front it obviates the question 'where did you get that hat, where did you get that hat?

Brom said...

I have a pic somewhere of a load of workers (about a hundred or more) who were working on a building in the 1920's. Every one had a flat cap on. I have no idea why it was such an essential item in those days. Of course things have changed over the years (or should I say over the ears?)

Ladies who wear hats are individual and cool!

Anonymous said...

Work that sponsorship, Rilly, work it babe !

Anonymous said...

eminem - I have read your post about Boris and synchronicity - A likely story !

I have no doubt that all this week's style magazines will be picking up your millinery theme..

http://www.hatcenter.com/coverapr00b.jpg

Why don't more women wear hats ? They would be noticed far more than a pair of funky shoes ?

Still waiting for those lottery numbers..

rilly super said...

anonymous, well, they said they would do the pantry for free if I got their name on M&M's blog. A girls's gotta live...

Anonymous said...

gill - i am interested in your note about the 'kangol factory'. I thought this was now an american company and all the manufacturing had been taken out to china ?

Anonymous said...

Okay villagers, rustle up your pitchforks, Eminem is going in the ducking stool.

I anticipated there might be a hat related follow up in this weekend's press. I was wrong. It is in the G2 section of today's Guardian !!!

And you know what we mad, crazed country villager types do when there is a fortune teller in our midst...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,2064275,00.html
[Sorry, for the funky pictures you'll need to buy the paper]

Of course, if you re-introduce your form guide to the weekend's racing we might just let you off..

ziggi said...

I have a pointy hat

Gill said...

the work has gone abroad but the factory is still there and it is a shop

debio said...

Hats have disappeared with the demise of etiquette.

For men it must, in the past, have been a minefield of potential social faux-pas', all that hat wearing; choosing the correct gear, doffing and removing appropriately.

Here, in Dubai, the Arab head dress seems constantly to need adjustment as it flaps in the desert breeze, and the women are in danger of being choked on a flowing abaya. The ubiquitous baseball cap is much favoured for the weekends and leisure activities.

The steady march of Westernisation moves apace....

mutterings and meanderings said...

Gill, get a cloche and hang on to it when it gets too breezy...

Rilly, my sister used to have a horse called Rive Gauche ...

Brom, hats are where it's at!

Anon, it'll be me and Ziggi going getting ducked together - she's just confessed!! I think The Groniad should just give me a column instead of using me as inspiration! I sent the Weekend mag a feature many many years ago when I was just out of uni - it was the nicest rejection letter I ever had...

Welcome debio - I like to think hats can be quirkier than etiquette!

Karen said...

I like to go to the Kangol factory and annoy mum by trying on lots of hats and most of them suiting me.

I have a couple of tweedy flat caps, a stripey woolen beanie that I knitted myself and a "festival" style hat for the summer.

In a hat box somewhere I have a green velvet 20s flapper hat, a straw hat that i wore for a summer wedding and a bowler hat which I bought as I enjoyed A CLockwork Orange so much. Do not fear I didn't plan or take part in any ultraviolence.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Karen, I'd love to see the green velvet flapper hat. I love velvet hats - I have a number of them myself.

I have always had a fancy for a bowler hat too - but that's me being nostaligic for the times (before my time) when people wore bowlers for riding. It looks very smart but isn't very safe!

Karen said...

If you're lucky mum might be obliging and take a photo of the hat. It is very divine decadence darling! It is also the colour of faeries and cheap absinthe.